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62         MY COUNTRY AND MY PEOPLE

He wants a secluded hut, if he cannot have an entire pleasure
garden, situated among the mountains with a mountain rill
running past his hut, or in a valley where of an afternoon he
can saunter along the river bank and watch cormorants
catching fish for the fisher. But if he cannot have that luck
and must live in the city, he will not be sorry, either. For he
would have, in any case, a cage bird and a few potted flowers
and the moon, for he can always have the moon. So did Su
Tungp'o the poet write about the moon in a perfect gem-like
little essay, called "A Night Promenade at Ch'engt'ien":

On the twelfth night of the tenth moon of the sixth year
of Yiianfeng, I had undressed and was going to bed, when
the moonlight entered my door, and I got up, happy of
heart. I thought there was no one to share this happiness
with me. So I walked over to the Ch'engt'ien Temple to
look for Huaimin. He, too, had not yet gone to bed. So we
paced about in the yard. The yard looked like a transparent
pool with the shadows of water-grass in it, but they were
really the shadows of bamboos and pine-trees cast by the
moonlight. Isn't there a moon on every night? And aren't
there bamboos and pine-trees everywhere? Only there are
few carefree people like the two of us.

A strong determination to get the best out of life, a keen
desire to enjoy what one has, and no regrets if one fails: this is
the secret of the Chinese genius for contentment.

VII. HUMOUR

Humour is a state of mind. More than that, it is a point of
view, a way of looking at life. The flower of humour blooms
whenever in the course of development of a nation there is an
exuberance of intellect able to flay its own ideals, for humour
is nothing but intellect slashing at itself. In any period of
history, when mankind was able to perceive its own futility,
its own smallness, and its own follies and inconsistencies, a
humorist appeared, like Chuangtse of China, Omar Khayydm